Hardwood floors for making Cutting Boards

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Forum topic by StephenSchaad posted 07-22-2012 01:16 AM 9825 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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201 posts in 1448 days

07-22-2012 01:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: end grain cutting board board cutting end grain wood floor hardwood hardwood floor bamboo butcher butcher block

I was watching DIY network yesterday, like always, and one of the projects they did was using left over bamboo flooring to make end grain cutting boards. I was just thinking about buying some solid hardwood flooring, plane it down, glue it up and make some end grain boards with it. Any one do this or know why it wouldn’t be a good idea?

I think the price is unbeatable but since dimensional lumber from woodcraft is so expensive its tough to compare. They have hard maple flooring for around $3 or so a square foot. I wonder if this is a good way to save some money on cutting boards.

17 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1496 posts in 2129 days

#1 posted 07-22-2012 01:30 AM

A couple of issues with this plan:

If you buy prefinished flooring you’ll find the finish is “very” hard and will really dull your planer blades quickly.

You will loose close to 25 percent of total volume of the lumber when you plane down the relieve grooves on the back of the flooring.

Look for a local sawmill and buy rough cut lumber directly from source. You can save a lot of money doing that.


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1073 posts in 3077 days

#2 posted 07-22-2012 01:37 AM

I have re-purposed bamboo for counter tops in my kitchen. Beautiful! BUT – the finish that is on the wood out of the box will drive you nuts trying to remove. I sanded with a belt sander for hours over a 2×5 foot area!! Also, note that the bottom of each board is recessed so, you won’t find it easy, out of the box, to cut and glue end grains. Good luck.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View StephenSchaad's profile


201 posts in 1448 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 01:43 AM

ahhh… Ok so it’s only a decent project if it’s literally going to go to waste. I didn’t know about the back being curved in like that Charles. I’ll have to take a look at the boards and see if they have it.

Thanks for the response guys

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2256 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 04:30 AM

I sell old flooring for lumber all the time… :) It works great.. wood is wood. If it has finish don’t bother removing it with anything short of a planer or saw. If you have a bandsaw or table saw I’d suggest cutting just inside of it and then smoothing it. Easier on the blade.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View MT_Stringer's profile


2740 posts in 2501 days

#5 posted 07-22-2012 05:06 AM

I saw that show also but I missed part of what she did to create the cutting board. I had my head stuck in the frig! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View BigYin's profile


298 posts in 1686 days

#6 posted 07-22-2012 07:41 AM

My local hardwood flooring firm lets me have all the old floorboards i can carry away, oak, maple beach etc.
I dont even de-nail just bend nails upright and cut down the inside with band saw, leaving 4 1/2 inch wide usable timber. Waste tipping fees and taxes are real high in England so its cheaper to give away than tip.

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View JL7's profile


8324 posts in 2235 days

#7 posted 07-22-2012 12:25 PM

Hey Stephan – when I was starting out in woodworking some of my first wood scores were small lots of flooring on Craigslist for real cheap. like $0.50 square foot… As mentioned above, the pre-finished stuff is nasty to deal with – but I have found many uses for it around the shop. Such as building a french cleat system on the wall, etc.

Some info here:

Also – 3 of the cutting boards in this post are from flooring:

Click for details

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1834 days

#8 posted 07-22-2012 01:11 PM

I wouldn’t use bamboo because all you can get is prefinished. I’d use unfinished hardwood, since I don’t think I’d trust anything prefinsihed to be food safe. Its a oil based polyurethane with aluminum oxide additives. When you sand it it will spark. Talk to your local wood flooring place and see what they sell unfininished. Most places are switching to mostly prefinished now, but unfinished should be easy enough to find, only issue is you’‘ll have to buy at minimum a bundle usually which will be approx 20 sq ft at $3 a foot is a lot than dimensional lumber, though If you do a few cutting boards it should pan out though

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1834 days

#9 posted 07-22-2012 01:20 PM

Also, bamboo flooring is not just a piece of bamboo like wood flooring is a piece of wood. Bamboo is a manufactured product. What do they use in those products. Check the MSDS sheets, since sometimes I know they claim to be formaldehyde free, which to me means sometimes other are not formaldehyde free.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View StephenSchaad's profile


201 posts in 1448 days

#10 posted 07-22-2012 03:51 PM

Ben, you’re right… Bamboo is all laminated together so I most likely wouldn’t go with that.

Jeff, I loved those links. I know there’s plenty of good lumber in unfinished hardwood floors but I guess getting the wood is the difficult part at a good price. I’m going to a scrap yard this week so I’ll see what kind of floors they have there. I think they had a basketball court the last time i checked but I’d have a hell of a time getting the clear coat off those.

Lis, you’re right… Cut the clear off and plane it after. Much better to use an old table saw blade than my expensive planer blades. haha

Thanks for the responses.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2338 days

#11 posted 07-22-2012 04:58 PM

I wouldn’t do this with any prefinished floor material. They have an aluminum oxide based finish that is incredibly hard (that’s why it’s so durable in high traffic areas). It’s pretty rough on saw blades and I don’t want to think about what it might do to planer or joiner blades. If you want to find out for yourself, use your own machine ‘cause you ain’t getting close to mine. – lol Unfinished or reclaimed hardwood (the “real” stuff) should work fine, but I would pass on the prefinished stuff.

Someone said that bamboo is a manufactured product and that isn’t exactly correct – bamboo is a type of grass. I really don’t know how it gets turned into flooring, but the “feed stock” is just grass. It has really gotten popular as flooring material because it’s “different”, nice looking, and “green”. It grows like a weed and can be harvested very frequently. If you’ve ever tried to control ornamental bamboo in your yard, you know what I mean.

Take anything you see on a DIY show with a large grain of salt. Most “pros” roll their eyes at some of the stuff they do. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2256 days

#12 posted 07-22-2012 05:37 PM

For what it’s worth, the floor I use daily (and sell) WAS basketball court. Saws right off and barely penetrates. From what I’ve learned on the subject they generally use an epoxy-type or poly-type “top coat” rather than “penetrating”. You ultimately use less that way and goes fast in installation. I would be willing to guess any basketball court floors you find will be similar.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View gfadvm's profile


14777 posts in 1960 days

#13 posted 07-23-2012 02:30 AM

I have used a lot of pre-finished hardwood flooring for projects. In my opinion a drum sander with 50 grit paper is the only way to remove that finish (and it works fast and easy). I wind up with 5/8” stock after I sand off the finish and plane the grooves off the back (starting with 3/4” flooring).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1834 days

#14 posted 07-24-2012 03:08 AM

sawkerf…I should have clarified that bamboo flooring as well as really any other bamboo tray, cup, silverwear holder, or anything else you see made from bamboo is at the bare minimum, stalks of bamboo laminated together. Strand bamboo (the really hard type of bamboo) is bamboo stalks that have been shredded and reconstituted under high heat and pressure and who knows what else. My claim as bamboo being a manufactured product is that you don’t cut a piece of bamboo and then run it through a planer or saw like you can with oak or pine or any other type of lumber.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View JL7's profile


8324 posts in 2235 days

#15 posted 07-24-2012 12:06 PM

Ben – I have a stash of bamboo plywood and I agree with tour statement about running it through the planer, I haven’t tried it, but it doesn’t seems like a good idea. You can however, process is just like wood in most other ways. Tablesaw, sanders, etc….no problem. Just have to really be careful of slivers!!

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